A Story to Tell  The Wisdom of the Wild Goats
Aesop Tale adapted by Glenda Bonin, 2010
One cold evening as the goatherd went to the pasture to get his herd, he noticed some wild goats had somehow become mixed in with his own. As he led his goats home, the wild goats followed along.
That night a fierce storm blew in. In the morning, everything was covered with snow and ice. The man saw that he could not take his goats to the usual feeding places, so he went to the barn to take care of their needs. When he looked over the wild goats, he noticed they were quite sturdy and possessed many traits he wanted to include in his herd.  He fed his own goats just enough hay to keep them alive, and then made a richer mix of food for the wild goats. The man patted the wild goats and spoke kindly to them as he fed them the wonderful food he had prepared. This he did for many weeks, hoping the wild goats would stay with the herd.
When warm weather finally came, he walked with his goats to a nearby pasture, but as soon as they arrived in the meadow, the wild goats ran off.
“Where are you going, you ungrateful animals!” shouted the man. “I fed you well and took better care of you than I did of my own goats.”
One of the wild goats turned to the man and said: “Yes. We enjoyed your attention, but we would never be loyal to you. You treated us better than your own goats, and this is why we would never stay. If we did, and new goats arrived, you would probably treat us badly in your efforts to impress the newcomers. We are not ungrateful, you are!”
And with that, the wild goats went on their way.
Glenda with friends

Glenda with friends
How to Tell This Story
This is an excellent story for someone new to storytelling because it is easy to remember (not too many scenes), and is primarily a narrative tale with just two places where I have suggested the use of character voices. Indeed, if you are not yet comfortable about assuming a character in a story, you can tell this story nicely without adding this extra bit of embellishment.
If you decide to try adding the voice of the man and the voice of the wild goat, you only need to remember the following four points.
(1) As storyteller, you are using your own voice and looking directly at the audience.
(2) In the character of the man, you will need to practice using a speaking voice somewhat different than your own. Be sure to change your position slightly to face in a direction where you imagine the goat to be. (Don’t forget to look down, because the goat is shorter than the man.)
(3) In the character of the wild goat, change your voice by altering your pitch and/or speaking pace. Gaze up in the opposite direction from where the man was looking, and imagine you are talking to the man when you say the dialogue for the goat.
(4) Be sure to say the final line as the storyteller to help establish for the audience that the story has reached a conclusion.


An Aesop Tale

Story Background and Educational Connections 
Like so many Aesop tales, this story about the man and his goats can be wonderfully adapted to reflect modern situations, and students are quick to see this.
A year ago, when I asked a group of 4th graders how they saw the story, one boy said it made him think about a friend he has had since kindergarten. He said this friend was a lot more important to him than the kids who act like friends but really aren’t.  At that point, the classroom conversation revolved around what real friendship meant. I found it to be interesting that students in an elementary school today so clearly understand and take to heart what Aesop was trying to say.
Now that we are all using so many technology tools, and becoming familiar with social networks by collecting “friends”, students are not the only ones for whom this message might resonate. Think about it.  How many Facebook friends do youhave?  How many of those folks are real friends?
This is a great way for values to be discussed in the classroom, and a nice way to examine the subject of friendship.  While I have not yet had an opportunity to use this Aesop story to initiate a writing exercise, I certainly see how this could be paired with students reading an inspiring story about how a friend helped a person inhistory stay on their path to success. In my suggested list of references, you will find several books by Kendall Haven containing applicable, short and inspiring historic tales that work well for this purpose.

Suggested Books
Kendall Haven. VOICES OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR: Stories of the Men, Women, and Children Who Lived Through the War Between the States.Historically accurate tales from the home front to the battlefield. Libraries Unlimited, Englewood, CO, 2002.
Kendall Haven. VOICES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: Stories of the Men, Women, and Children Who Forged Our Nation.  Historically accurate stories about the war for independence. Libraries Unlimited, Englewood, CO, 2000.

Kendall Haven. AMAZING AMERICAN WOMEN. Inspiring stories about great American heroines. Libraries Unlimited, Englewood, CO, 1995.Contact GlendaYou can follow Glenda on Facebook, or email her.